Tuesday, January 15, 2008

That Workshop High

Maven Carrie RyanI apologize in advance for the brevity of my post and for it maybe not making too much sense. I'm turning in my final edits today which means my head has been firmly in the Forest of Hands and Teeth recently. They don't have so many workshops there, as you can imagine :)

I must admit that it's been a while since I attended any workshops, but there is one thing I find in common with all of them -- that high you get when it's done. I don't know if it's being around so many writers, so much enthusiasm, so much love for the craft, but it's nearly impossible to leave a workshop without being completely fired up, your brain in overdrive with new thoughts, new plots, new organization tools.

Even if the subject of the workshop isn't necessarily up your alley, I think you still learn things. Maybe you learn what doesn't work for you. Maybe you learn that something you didn't think worked actually did on occasion. Or maybe you just learned some good industry gossip from the other writers there. But always, you realize that you are part of a bigger whole of writers going for their dreams. And that's pretty darn inspiring.

I still remember the feeling I got at my first RWA National conference -- how I couldn't write fast enough. How ideas sprang from everywhere. I got in my car for the 13 hour drive home and I shut off the radio and wrote a book in my head. It was amazing -- I was so full of energy and drive. Same thing with the last conference I went to -- I met wonderful friends (friendships that have grown since then) and solidified my ultimate goal of wearing that First Sale ribbon.

So if you feel like you're flagging and you need a boost, find a workshop. Bonus if it's something that you need, but remember the key is just being around other people who are excited to be there and who are interested in improving and being the best that they can. I think you'll find your creative wells filled, your dedication a little stronger, and your energy soaring. Plus, you're bound to pick up some great tips in the process!


Erica Ridley said...

w00t for turning in edits!

And what's this about a 13-hour drive? Skymiles, baby, Skymiles!

Totally agree about the pumped-up feeling that comes from a great workshop. I love to have my imagination sparked like that. And when I listen to workshops on tape, it seems some snippet always strikes me right where my story needs it most, regardless if I've already heard that workshop before. Funny how that stuff works out sometimes!

Bill Clark said...

Short and sweet and to the point, Carrie! I'd never thought about how energizing professional conferences and workshops are, even though I've experienced it myself many times, and even presented once or twice.

Yet another Maven post that every writer should print out and tape over his/her desk!

Isabel said...

Way to go on the edits, Carrie. :)

I couldn't agree more, I get that feeling each and every time I got to a chapter meeting or brainstorm. It's the best feeling. In those moments it's all clear to me: One day I'll sell my books.

After reading this post I feel energized, thanks, Carrie.

Carrie R. said...

Yay! Glad everyone (so far) liked the post and it made sense! And Bill you're right -- it's not just writing conferences (though some CLE's can put you to sleep...).

Erica -- this was my summer "off." I wasn't working, didn't have a ton o'cash and liked the drive (didn't have to worry about how many books I could take with me). It was the one in New Orleans.

Bill Clark said...

Sharp eyes, Carrie! Yes, the conferences I've attended have mostly been those of the MLA (Modern Language Association) and CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education). Lots of panels and workshops on writing there, along with much else.

I note with alarm that the Mavens have falled into fourth place in the Predpoll standings. Guys! Get with it! Get out there and VOTE FOR THE MAVENS!!

Bill Clark said...

P.S. Today is the LAST DAY of the poll. No more dilly-dallying or shilly-shallying - VOTE NOW!!

*Bill is starting to get hoarse from all his shouting*

Vicki said...

I know what you mean Carrie. Whenever I leave a workshop or writers meeting, I'm ready to write. More often than not during the workshop ideas spring into my head and I have to turn to the back of my notebook and jot them down. :)

Darcy Burke said...

the key is just being around other people who are excited to be there

That's it, Carrie! I get the same high after I attend my local RWA meeting. Like minds and all that!

Tessa Dare said...

Congrats on turning in your edits!

Ditto on the nifty ideas from workshops being inspiring. But then some of my favorite workshops and seminars are the ones where the presenters admit to being just as clueless as I feel. :)

I'm really lucky that my local RWA chapter has awesome speakers every month. We had Cherry Adair in Dec, and she fell into the first category - tons of practical hints that got me really jazzed. Then Carly Phillips came last weekend, and she was in the second column - her whole topic was her messy writing process and how "there's no wrong way" to write a book. I needed to hear that, too.

Jackie Barbosa said...

I think the sense of camaraderie is definitely one of the best things I got from National and from the SD RWA chapter meetings I've attended. The only problem is when the ideas get rolling so fast and furious, I lose hope of ever catching up. (Hmmm, feeling that way lately and I haven't even been to any workshops. I better get crackin'. Whips ahoy!)

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